Album of the Week: Mali Music – "Mali Is..."
Tue, 17 Jun 2014 10:00:29
"You can't stop me now," declares Mali Music midway through "Ready Aim" from his triumphant new album Mali Is... [iTunes link]. Throughout these twelve tracks, he's on a mission. You can feel it in the cadence of "Ready Aim" and his dynamic delivery, spanning hip-hop energy all the way to bluesy pondering. Mali Music's mission remains a singular one. He's going to make you believe in something. Whatever that is will differ from person to person, but you'll undoubtedly walk away from Mali Is... with a newfound perspective and belief. Mainly, you'll believe in Mali.
From some of the humble musings, it's clear that he's just doing what comes naturally and that's what makes Mali Is... so powerful. This is an artist who doesn't have to try. Like the title says, he just is. Diversity remains the name of the game for him. Whether it's the hazy and hypnotic soul of "No Fun Alone" where he confidently carries a jazz-y croon or "One" where he dips into reggae tradition seamlessly, he can literally do it all. Songs like "Fight For You" capitalize on that expansive arsenal he possesses within his voice. It slips from John Legend-style flavor into a rap buoyancy a la OutKast during their golden years on Aquemini. Ultimately, these shifts make for an undeniably fascinating listen. He claims, "I'll be your protection", and you know he's not playing.
"Make It" sees him flex his verse muscles again with an upbeat anthem that places him proudly alongside the best MCs in the modern game. However, the most inspiring moment occurs during the closer "I Believe". A beautiful song of belief he opens up and shows everyone where his strength comes from as he says, "We all need hope. We all need faith".
Modern music is rarely this thought-provoking and catchy at the same time. Since Mali has struck that delicate balance, he's made a masterpiece and one of the best albums of 2014. There's no stopping him.
Have you heard Mali Is...?